Postdoctoral Research Biologist (pre-announcement)

Location
Barrigada, Guam
Salary
Approx. $67,945 per year
Posted
Mar 12, 2018
Closes
May 12, 2018
Employment Type
Full time, Temporary / Seasonal
Salary Type
Salary

Position Pre-announcement (formal announcement upon approval by HR)

Postdoctoral Research Biologist

GS-401-11

 

USDA-APHIS-WS-NWRC Hawai’i Field Station

Invasive Species Research Program

 

Full-time Temporary Appointment

Salary: Approximately $67,945 + Benefits

Duty Location: Barrigada, Guam

The National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) is the research arm of the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services program. The mission of the NWRC Hawai’i Field Station is to develop and test methods and strategies to manage invasive species impacts to agriculture, natural resources, and human health and safety on Hawai’i, Guam, and other U.S.-managed lands in the Pacific Basin.

The NWRC Hawai’i Field Station anticipates a vacancy for a full-time temporary Postdoctoral Research Biologist to be stationed on the U.S. territorial island of Guam in the Western Pacific.

The accidental introduction of Brown Treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) to Guam has led to a cascade of ecological degradation and economic burden. Most striking has been the near-complete extirpation or extinction of Guam’s native forest birds. With recent technological innovations driven by NWRC – primarily associated with the development of an automated system for toxic bait production and aerial delivery – the prospects for landscape-scale suppression of Brown Treesnakes on Guam are now promising for the first time in the decades-long battle against this costly invasive predator (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU-8DRfHbSo). The overall objectives of landscape-scale control of Brown Treesnakes are to further reduce the potential for accidental introductions to other islands and to recover key habitat for future native bird reintroduction programs.

The NWRC Hawai’i Field Station is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral research position to develop tools for, and conduct, evaluations of the efficacy of this automated system for invasive Brown Treesnake control. Currently-funded studies, for which the successful candidate would be principal investigator, are:

1) Assessing survival/mortality of radio-tagged Brown Treesnakes after aerial toxicant treatments (this is a joint study with the US Geological Survey Brown Treesnake Project); and

2) Development of a standardized index of Brown Treesnake activity for adaptive management, to involve testing and development of various innovative wildlife sampling tools and techniques.

3) Validating efficacy of acetaminophen bait dosing for the largest Brown Treesnakes.

While these projects are established in concept, the successful candidate would be responsible for selecting appropriate techniques and developing protocols to achieve these research objectives. 

The postdoc would be hosted at the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services office in Barrigada, Guam, but would report to the NWRC Hawai’i Field Station Leader, located in Hilo, Hawai’i.  The incumbent must be self-directed and productive with minimal direct supervision. The postdoc would be the sole representative of NWRC on Guam, but would be expected to integrate with other entities on Guam such as the Wildlife Services operational program and the US Geological Survey’s Brown Treesnake Project. 

Major Duties:

The postdoc would design and execute innovative field studies and controlled experiments related to Brown Treesnake damage control.  A high degree of professionalism and diplomacy is required since he/she may often be interacting with the U.S. military, other federal and local agencies, and a diverse general public on potentially controversial snake control issues.  The postdoc would take the lead in developing techniques for investigations and is expected to fully participate in the entire research process, including field work, data analysis, writing reports of results for peer-reviewed publication, and oral data presentations at professional conferences. 

Minimum Requirements:

  1. PhD in Zoology, Ecology, Biology, Statistics, or Wildlife and/or Conservation Biology, or related quantitative field. 
  2. Demonstrated field experience in invasive vertebrates, population estimation, and/or modeling.
  3. Demonstrated proficiency with statistical software and model assessment.
  4. Demonstrated motivation and proficiency to publish in the peer-reviewed literature.
  5. Must have a valid driver's license or the ability to obtain a driver's license.
  6. Must be a U.S. citizen and pass a background check.

Desired Proficiencies:

Competitive candidates would have proficient programming skills using data analysis software (e.g., the R software environment for statistical computing). The successful candidate would have excellent written and personal communication skills, an ability to work with people, and experience with living and working in tropical or island ecosystems.

Duration:

We anticipate funding to be available for 18 months.

To respond to this pre-announcement:

Provide a cover letter and resume to:

Shane R. Siers (shane.r.siers@aphis.usda.gov)
NWRC Hawai’i Field Station, PO Box 10880, Hilo, Hawaii  96721
(808) 961-4482 x34